Discussion in 'Heritage railways & Centres in the Uk' started by BillR, Jan 5, 2010.
The weird bits are the comments by Martin Horwood MP (Cheltenham) under the article:
"And it wouldn't stop walkers or cyclists using the Honeybourne Line where this is the intended route."
"There is space on the Honeybourne Line route from Cheltenham Spa station all the way to Stratford - after all it was built to take mainline trains"
Does he know the GWSR is there????
We have heard this all before though. I remember the last time something similar was suggested the council didn't even bother to consult the GWR before announcing their plans. Fortunately, I don't think it's anything to worry about for the GWR pure pie in the sky stuff - the only bit of any merit is the maybe the Gloucester to Cheltenham section. The Stratford section would be a complete waste of time the passenger figures were always quite poor before they ceased. The value of rebuilding the line is for use by freight which cant happen as a tramway. If it does go ahead it will be another waste of time just like their noddy train concept (which was a total failure).
In the year just ended, the Glos Warks Railway issued 73,836 tickets to travel- 9.4 per cent up on 2008 and 3.8 per cent on the Railway's previous best year, 2007.
Like many other heritage railways, the GWSR has done well from visitors and passengers over the last 12 months (unlike the take-up of shares which has diminished probably due to the recession) and is a valuable tourist and educational resource for that geographical area. Therefore I can assume and hope that its future is secure. As a Cheltenham-born individual, I have always had an interest in that town, which strangled itself with traffic years ago and closed its most useful and beautiful station (Cheltenham St James) back in 1966 (probably because it was a terminus station and too close to the Town Centre). I have always found Cheltenham's rulers to be at best ambivalent and at worst, negative, to the GWSR. I'm sure that I am writing a little harshly here as there has been much support and 22% of the GWSR's tickets are now issued at Cheltenham Race Course Station. But we all know that the line should have been protected intact from Lansdown Jct to Honeybourne at the very least. It would still be possible to reconnect to Lansdown and the Bristol Birmingham Main Line but developments since 1977 have virtually nibbled away the Cheltenham end. As has been said already by many contributors to this thread and the Gloucestershire website thread - its another pseudo "lets go green" idea full of hot air. Let us continue to Broadway and Honeybourne and leave these children to play with their paper trams.
He probably won't be MP in 6 months time. Isn't Cheltenham on the Tories hit list?
The Tram idea has clearly not been thought out at all in terms of going north of say Bishops Cleeve where the railway goes through rural countryside.
Between Gloucester/Cheltenham/Bishops Cleeve there may be more of a case but not at the sort of costs which are likely for this mode of transport.
The more likely (and peviously mooted) prospect remains in the background though of NR wanting the whole route back from a new junction just north of Cheltenham throught to reconnect at Stratford as a proper north south route.
Pie in the Sky?? - not really
I think it may be yes
A tram/heritage rail interchange at Racecourse Station would be a great idea as realistically the GWSR isn't going to get any closer to the town centre. The tram could occupy the old formation as much as possible and hence safeguard it for possible future conversion to heavy rail. A tram anywhere beyond Racecourse is a ridiculous idea - it is either heavy rail or nothing for reasons mentioned above. I don't think the GWSR have anything to worry about for the next 20-30 years at least.
It does raise an interesting point though. If NR came up with the money to reinstate the line completely between Cheltenham and Stratford tomorrow and effectively wipe out the GWSR should enthusiasts be opposed to it? As keen promoter of railways I'd have to say a line is better as part of the national network than as a heritage operation. I'm sure the GWSR would be compensated handsomely for their troubles and there are plenty of other lines that could be re-opened!
Just a point to ponder now though as I do not think it will happen for at least 20-30 years, if ever!
wasnt the plan a few years ago for the gwsr and nr to share the line. nr using it in the week and the gwsr at weekends.
I would imagine that the deal to get the GWSR from there would be good, perhaps the Kingham Branch would be a good place to go!! (Folks, this is TIC OK!)
That was apparently suggested but after all of about 5 minutes thought a regular shared use 100mph/25mph - modern/heritage railway operation just does'nt stack up for quite a large number of reasons (even assuming a 5 day NR operation & 2 day heritage one suited both parties).Either there is too much "heritage" about it to make it fully compatible with modern railway equipment operation at main line speeds or the "heritage" part of it is so badly comprimised that it becomes unattractive to heritage line passengers!!
In order to survive I think some heritage railways may well have to go back to doing what they were built for - carrying goods and passengers on "serious" journeys. That's why the Cheltenham Honeybourne Line is so important as a link to the National Network.
This is the one bit of the idea that I think has merit with as I said earlier the bit to Gloucester. I could see the point of this but fail to see the point of a tram to Stratford. Trams work best in urban and suburban situations and here we have a proposed scheme that passes through predominatly rural area with small populations. Apart from Cheltenham, Broadway and Stratford the other areas have no substantial population. I assume that commutors would be expected to fill these long (by tram standards) distance services but are there really that many people who do commute between these respective towns? Wasn't this ultimately the main reason that the passenger service ceased in the first place? One can't help but feel that this idea has been put together by people who have absolutely no idea what so ever and in reality a 5 year old could come up with a more viable scheme. I mean did they look at metrolink and put 2 and 2 together and get 5 or what?
It might be cheaper to build but if it is pointless then surely it is nothing but a waste of public money. Sure it would cost less but the real value of the line as a freight and diversionary route would no longer exist. When network rail looked into rebuilding the line it was purely on the basis of it's value as a freight and a diversionary route. There was no mention of regular passenger services and thats because they know that there is no need for such a service a point these fools seem to have missed.
If we forget the major 'never will happen' element for a moment , what sort of muppet thinks Trams make good long distance Transport ?, they are tightly spaced surburban type vehicles with no interchangability or through running with other rail vehicles, ideal for short work in Manchester, long distance in Gloucestershire is laughable.
Why should the GWSR have to give up everything they've built and achieved over 25 years because BR was too stupid to look beyond the next 5 minutes ?
The local MP for one LOL!!!
Although it is tight now around the st james site after they removed the emabankment and put that footbridge in when they built waitrose.
Separate names with a comma.